The Boston Celtics coach responds to journalists who comment on his skin color, he feels more pride in his Catholicism than in being Black

A reporter asked him about the importance of having two Black coaches leading their teams in this year's NBA Finals.

Boston Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla surprised the audience during a press conference when he decided to redirect the conversation toward his Christian faith instead of focusing on a question about his race. Mazzulla, a devout Catholic, was asked about the importance of having two black coaches in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1975, the other coach being Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks.

Vincent Goodwill, senior reporter for Yahoo Sports, was the one who posed the question: “Given the plight, sometimes of black head coaches in the NBA, do you think this is a significant moment? Do you take pride in this? How do you view this or do you not see it at all?”

However, instead of focusing on the racial issue, Mazzulla responded: “I wonder how many of those have been Christian coaches,” suggesting that religion is more important to him than skin color. His comment caused a bit of confusion in the press room but quickly went viral on social media, attracting the support of many believers.

Reactions on social media

The CelticsForum fan account also showed its support with the message: “Joe Mazzulla does not see color. Joe Mazzulla uses his platform to take a stand for Christ. Joe Mazzulla is my coach.”

Sportscaster TJ Moe praised Mazzulla, saying, “This guy is now my favorite coach in all of sports. Instead of taking the bait to talk about race senselessly over and over, I shifted the conversation to values .”

Jason Kates, a fan, also stated: “I love Joe Mazzulla! His identity is not in his melanin level. His identity is not in his job or his success in that job. His identity is in Jesus Christ.”

“Coach Mazzulla appears to be more proud of his faith than the color of his skin. Me too!" said Chad Hawley, founder of NEXUS Mountain Network, a Christian social network, on X.

Mazzulla highlights his faith

It should be noted that this is not the first time Mazzulla mentions his faith instead of directly answering questions about other topics. When the Boston Celtics reached the NBA Finals, a reporter asked him what was the key to achieving that success. Mazzulla responded: "It's just where God has us right now. We're all where we're supposed to be and right now, everyone's mindset is on helping each other and winning.”

In the past, he was also asked how he felt about the Royal Family visiting a game, to which Mazzulla responded: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph? I only know one royal family.”

Celtics Preview

The 2024 NBA Finals began on Thursday, and two games have been played so far. The Celtics have emerged victorious in both matches, and the team that first achieves four victories will be crowned champions of the 2023-2024 season. In Sunday's game, held at TD Garden, the Celtics beat the Mavericks 105-98, taking a 2-0 lead in the series.